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Thursday, October 27, 2011
Looking for an emergency kicker

By Pedro Moura

With Andre Heidari still not 100 percent as he works to recover from a sprained ankle suffered Saturday against Notre Dame, the Trojans held quick try-outs after Thursday's practice for any players with kicking ability, trying to find a backup option for walk-on kicker Craig McMahon in case of emergency.

It's not quite UCLA style -- the Trojans didn't audition anybody outside the squad, and they did it for only a few minutes. But it represents the lack of confidence they have in Heidari's health heading into Saturday's Stanford game.

Defensive tackle DaJohn Harris was the first player to volunteer his kicking services, but USC coach Lane Kiffin quickly turned that offer down.

"We just had a walk-on kicker try-out for anybody," Kiffin said Thursday."We asked anybody if they'd kicked in high school."

A few walk-ons participated, including freshman running back Taylor Ross, a 5-10, 190-pounder who was 5-of-6 on field goals his senior year at Sage Hill in Orange County.

It didn't sound as if Kiffin was overly enthused with any of the options that presented themselves. It's likely going to be Heidari doing the place-kicking on Saturday and McMahon doing the kickoffs -- with Heidari also potentially giving way on deep field goals, although it's more likely that USC just won't attempt them.

Heidari, a freshman from Bakersfield, is 11-of-13 on field-goal attempts this season and a perfect 22-of-22 on extra-points. McMahon, also from Bakersfield, has yet to attempt either of the two, although he did have one kickoff go for 58 yards against the Irish.